whent to seek doctor help shingles

Why do Shingles Hurt?

What are shingles

Shingles is a type of rash associated with severe, shooting pain. The inflammation generally arises only on one side of the body, instead of appearing on the whole body. People who have had shingles describe the pain as excruciating and numbing. This is because shingles is a combination of a rash with nerve involvement.


Shingles, as a rule of thumb, occur more commonly in populations who have had an episode of chickenpox previously. It’s explainable as the cause of chickenpox and shingles is the same virus known as Varicella Zoster. It is a type of herpes virus, so both chickenpox and shingle are herpetic infections.

An infection with the virus for the first time will result in Varicella, also known as chickenpox. After recovery from the illness, the virus stays in the body during its period of latency. Years or decades later, reinfection by the same virus results in the condition. Since the virus lives around the nerves, reinfection involves the nerves, resulting in the characteristic nervous pain of shingles.

What are the symptoms

Shingles typically present itself with raised itchy bumps on the skin. The rash usually appears in the form of blisters filled with fluid. This rash takes days or weeks to heal. The surrounding skin is also highly inflamed and angry red. Like with other viral infections, the rash is accompanied by a high-grade fever and headache. However, the most prominent complaint is excruciating pain. The pain is described along the lines of a sensation of burning, itching, or tingling under the skin. The pain lasts as long as the rash. A substantial number of patients also experience other symptoms such as an upset stomach, diarrhea, and pain in the abdomen. As with most illnesses, the patient feels worn out and fatigued.

Who is most at risk?

elders at risk shinglesWhile chickenpox infections are quite prevalent, particularly in children, shingles is not equally standard. Therefore, the risk factors that make a particular person more prone to reinfection may differ. Such factors include various aspects like the age of patient being more than fifty, or long term use of steroids. The most affected age group is the elderly. People with physical injury or chronic illnesses like cancer or HIV are also more likely to develop shingles after. This is because of their weaker immune systems and lower body defense mechanism.

When to call your doctor?

Generally, an episode of shingles will heal on its own. However, you may need to get in touch with your physician if you experience alarming signs like a rash lasting for more than ten days without showing any improvement or if your pain becomes unbearable.

Sometimes, one may develop stranger and more alarming symptoms like discoloration of the skin around the rash or a buzz in the ears. Some patients, unfortunately, would experience more severe nerve degradation resulting in paralysis of the facial muscles. All these signs advocate a visit to your doctor whose timely intervention can prevent further complications from arising.

whent to seek doctor help shingles

The doctor’s diagnosis is based on the characteristic symptoms; however, the patient might occasionally need to get an antibody test for the virus if the signs aren’t obvious.

Treatment options

The treatment options vary greatly and depend upon the severity of symptoms shown during illness. Mainly, the medications will help in cutting down the infection time and reducing pain and discomfort.

The doctor might start you on some antiviral medications that are particularly effective if given within the first two days of illness. These medications keep the progress of rash in check and lower the chances of developing complications later on.

Pain relief for shingle

The major problem is that of the debilitating pain. Doctors prescribe a wide array of medications, including shingles cream for both the problem and the rash. This cream is beneficial not only for the pain and the inflammation but also to stave off the complication known as postherpetic neuralgia. This is the scientific name for the burning pain that lingers after the infection ends. The word neuralgia means nerve pain.

Typically shingles cream would have ingredients that would produce a numbing effect providing relief. Other than that, certain creams would have anti-inflammatory agents to calm down the itch and redness. There are antibiotic creams available as well to fight further infections that might develop in the popped blisters.

The best cream for shingles helps fight bacterial infections and provides relief from itch, pain, and inflammation of the viral infection.

Some natural ingredients, like baking soda or cornstarch, also have calming and soothing effects. Applying a paste could provide relief from the symptoms; however, these need more time to produce the desired results. Using a cream containing similar natural ingredients could be your best cream for shingles.

Alternative care

alternative care shinglesOther than the home remedies and medications like shingles cream, there are a couple of other things one can do to make their illness a little more bearable. For example, keeping the affected area clean, dry, and exposed to air can accelerate the healing process. It is always recommended that the patient avoid scratching the blisters and rash. It is considered necessary to do so to reduce the chances of bacterial infection and scarring. Any cream with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties is regarded as the best cream for shingles.

Patients are also advised to maintain an adequate level of hydration by consuming sufficient amounts of water. A balanced diet with essential nutrients can go along way in strengthening the body and fighting the infection. If you lack certain nutrients, supplements and multivitamins can be taken to boost your immune system.

Quality rest and uninterrupted sleep have been proven effective.

Lastly, medications and mental exercises for stress relief are considered highly helpful. Sometimes, antidepressants are given temporarily for the same purpose. However, meditation and calming exercises can be equally useful.

Multiple immunity-boosting medications and diet, family and friends support, and pain-relieving medications make up the treatment regime for someone with shingles.